Still The Biggest Show In Town – Southampton 8th December 2014

Southampton were robbed and United, with three goal attempts all night, all from Robin van Persie, scored two of them. This is United’s fifth successive win, three of them have been lucky.

A suicidal backpass form José Fonte in the 12th minute left van Persie to put the ball through the legs of Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster. From here, we thought that United, Continue reading Still The Biggest Show In Town – Southampton 8th December 2014

Every Cloud Has A Leaden Lining – Manchester 2nd February 2014

The transfer window provided the opportunity for the eternally talentless Jim White, of SKY Sports News, giving us a helium-fueled night of tedium on what is understatedly called, DEADLINE DAY (please shout this out loud as you read it.) Rarely has a man with so little to say, said so much. On Friday night, he had even less to say than usual, but still said too much, too loudly with all the reserve and control of a five year who’s been given carte blanche to drink Red Bull.

Staying cool: Jim White alongside Simon Thomas on DEADLINE DAY™ 2009

David Moyes said last Summer that he’s “more than happy with what we’ve got. I’m very happy with my squad and the options we have”.  Continue reading Every Cloud Has A Leaden Lining – Manchester 2nd February 2014

Skating On Thin Ice – Manchester 23rd of September 2013

Vincent Kompany said in his post match interview on SKY Sports that ‘maybe the game meant a little bit more to us than to them…’. If Kompany has ever uttered truer words than that then I’ve yet to read or hear them. This was as bad a United performance against City that I can ever remember. Just under two years ago, I walked away from Old Trafford having witnessed City beating United 6-1. I was consoled in the belief that even though City were deserved winners that day, 6-1 was a freak result. it was a result against a 10 man team that had gone kamikaze after they had scored a goal at 3-0 down with nine minutes to go. Yesterday was different. When Wayne Rooney scored what was arguably the goal of the match on 87 minutes, United could’ve been 7-0 down and it would’ve been a fair reflection of the game. That it was only 4-0 at the time was due to the fact that with some mercy, City took their foot off the pedal when they scored their fourth on 50 minutes with a far post volley from Samir Nasri. The last time I can remember a United performance as clueless and as spineless as this, was at the Riverside stadium, Middlesbrough in October 2005, a match that had the same result as yesterday. That match inadvertently saw the departure of Roy Keane for comments he made about the game after watching it whilst seething in a hotel bar in Dubai. With a bit of luck, yesterdays performance would have marked cards for certain players in a similar way with David Moyes. I can’t second guess the reasoning of a United manager who spurned the chance of signing Mesut Özil during a summer in which he also granted Nani a new five year contract. For all that, after what I’ve seen from both Ashley Young and Anderson in the past nine days, the only time I’d expect to see them in a United shirt again would be on Thursday nights at Moss Lane in Altrincham playing for the stiffs and even then, only in place of an injury to one of the kids. There are others, more popular terrace figures like Danny Welbeck and Antonio Valencia who must also be skating on thin ice too.

Continue reading Skating On Thin Ice – Manchester 23rd of September 2013

Magpies squawk to high Evans – Newcastle United V Man United , 7th of October 2012

Former Arsenal & Scotland goalkeeper, BBC sport anchor and all round nice guy Bob Wilson recently said that when he was a goalkeeper “you could tell where the ball was going to go five yards after it left your opponents foot, nowadays a goalkeeper doesn’t know where the ball’s going to go until it’s five yards away from him“. I quote this because Uniteds’ talented but heart stopping goalkeeper, David De Gea, gave a performance today which reminded me of what Wilson said. His handling of crosses is diabolical. If a keeper comes out for a cross then his defence should know about it through a shout. This is something you learn at the age of eight. The fact that he ends up challenging his own defenders for a cross means either he’s not putting a shout up or worse, his defenders don’t trust him. On other occasions he flaps and completely misses the ball and creates chaos in his own area. A mistake of his from a cross on the 51st minute nearly caused a goal for Newcastle United. Newcastle fans were screaming at referee Howard Webb and linesman Darren Cann to award a goal after Papiss Cissé headed the ball goalbound following De Gea’s mistake. The referee and the linesman called it right due to the fact that they had to be sure it crossed the line. Having now seen the incident from more angles than a protractor can give, you still can’t be sure it’s a goal so how they can tell it in real time is a mystery. How the on form Papiss Cissé didn’put the ball away with almost the entire goal at his mercy is the biggest surprise. David De Gea did what he does best and made a fantastic instinctive save even if he did cause the problem in the first place, today, in the space of 30 seconds, we saw the best and the worst of our young Madridian goalkeeper.

David De Gea pulls off an amazing save from Papiss Cissé Continue reading Magpies squawk to high Evans – Newcastle United V Man United , 7th of October 2012

Judgment day Derby – A preview of a night of air that’s thick in downtown Beswick

You can always tell it’s a big match when there’s an announcement in the media that a load of tickets have been stolen for the forthcoming game. The first time I heard this was in 1983 when United were playing Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup final and an envelope containing tickets for the match had apparently vanished from Gary Bailey’s car. The fact that I have never heard of anybody being convicted for selling, being in possession or attempting to use a stolen ticket tells me that the police have been, at the very least, spectacularly unlucky in all these years of chasing the thieves who’ve stolen the tickets. Only the most cynical of people would think that these announcements were made to scare people from buying tickets off the child eatin’, puppy drowning, mother trading *ticket touts (City fans, please look to the bottom of the page). Ticket touts as we all know, use the proceeds from their labours to fund terrorism, the importation of drugs and facilitating prostitution.

Next Monday will be without doubt, the biggest Manchester derby to have happened in my lifetime. I first went to a Maine Road derby in September 1985, shortly after City’s promotion from the second tier, for a match which United won 3-0. It was the last time United ever outnumbered City in their home ground. In those days, virtually every United fan that wanted a ticket for Maine Road, got one. Over the years, particularly since the 5-1 in September 1989, it’s been harder and harder getting tickets for City away but this match next Monday, is the first time I can say that no United fan of my aquaintance has, to my knowledge, got a ticket for the game. I don’t even know anybody who knows anybody that’s got one either. Some of the more outlandish claims have been, that tickets for the United end, have been changing hands on the black market for £800.00. Hence the sheer coincidence of the announcement that tickets have been stolen, alluded to in the last paragraph.

I can’t say for sure who’s going to win Mondays match or the title. One thing I know is that whoever wins the title between the two Manchester clubs, the other team will spend all summer rueing a blown opportunity. City fans have recently been frantically washing the towels they threw in after their loss at Arsenal nearly three weeks ago. At the time, they tried being philosophical about United’s impending coronation. Suddenly, they were saying it’s a season too early. Absolute rubbish, City’s form in the first half of the season was that of champions, playing good football and winning games when they weren’t playing well. As for United, a dreadful performace at Wigan was compounded by losing a two goal lead to a mediocre Everton side last Sunday. I’m confident of one thing, if United defend as badly against City as they did against Everton, Monday night will be a horror show. We could have a situation where the league title is decided on goal difference for the first time since Arsenal’s magnificent win at Anfield in May 1989. SKY TV, never slow to hype up the most tedious of events, suddenly have a bona fide classic on their hands.

Unmissable!

SKY Sports going for their usual understated subtlety

For years, City have been the cause célèbre of visiting southerners (love of the underdog), wacky students (hey, we’re ironic), groovy dudes that say cool a lot and people who finish their sentences as if asking a question? One thing City have done brilliantly over the last twenty or so years is manage to convince people that don’t live in Manchester that they’re the most popular team/club in Manchester. If you read the backpackers bible, the lonely planet (UK edition), they claim Manchester is mostly populated by blues. 18 year old fresher students who move to Manchester for three years are given info packs making the same claim, that the lonely planet make. It’s no wonder that so many of them end up getting a slap in their first couple of weeks in Manchester. We’ve also got ex cool cat (sic) and one man 1980s crimewave, Noel Gallagher, brainwashing everybody with his cat sat on the mat staring at the moon in june lyrics and re-cycled Beatles melodies, that Manchester is blue. We have the southern dominated national media spinning the same rubbish. They know very well the truth but the truth to them in this case, dosen’t make a good story (or in any other case come to think of it). They’re quiet happy to have the world believe that Manchester is inhabited by a load of rain soaked, flat capped, half witted and downtrodden lovers of mediocrity. The subtext of the mischievous media manipulation is that mancunians are not worthy of such a great club as Manchester United. Manchester people don’t appreciate the type of football played by United or the success the club enjoy. The reason that Old Trafford is mostly populated by southern tourists, is because they’re the only people in the UK sophisticated enough to appreciate the football. To use a culinary metaphor, United are the Kobe beef compared to City’s steak and kidney pudding. Us earthy northerners don’t go for that poncey rubbish, but of course…

*To any City fans that may be reading this, a ticket tout is somebody who trades in tickets at sold out events for a premium. Obviously the only time they normally get seen at Eastlands is when there’s a rock/pop concert on